The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today announced its approval for the Village of Somers to divert an annual average of 1.2 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River Basin.

The DNR’s diversion approval allows the Village of Somers to extend public water service into the Mississippi River Basin for residential, commercial and industrial use, plus public authority purposes in the diversion area.

Somers straddles the divide between the Lake Michigan Basin and Mississippi River Basin. Most of the Village of Somers is within the Lake Michigan Basin. Straddling communities can apply to divert Great Lakes water under the Great Lakes Compact.

The Great Lakes Compact, and a parallel agreement with Quebec and Ontario, are formal agreements between the Great Lakes states and provinces that detail how the states and provinces will work together to manage and protect the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin.

The Somers Water Utility will purchase the diverted water from the Kenosha Water Utility. The Village of Somers must return the diverted water to Lake Michigan as part of the diversion approval. The Village of Somers will return the wastewater to the Kenosha Wastewater Treatment where wastewater is treated to meet applicable water quality discharge standards before being returned to the lake.

The DNR received a straddling community diversion application from the Village of Somers in February 2021 to divert up to an annual average of 1.2 million gallons of water per day. After receiving the application, the DNR invited the public to provide comments on the application and received public testimony at a hearing in November 2021.

The DNR has considered the comments in issuing the approval and drafted a comment and response document, available on the DNR’s Village Of Somers Water Diversion Application webpage here.

More information about the Great Lakes Compact is available here.